The Dragons won their way into the biggest game on the central Victorian footy calendar following a massive 79-point preliminary final win over old rivals Golden Square on Saturday night.
The 2015 victory was made even sweeter for the Hurst when footy historians reminded them it was their first finals victory over the Bulldogs since the late Nineties: 1998, in fact.
And for Sandhurst it was their first defeat of Square from four meetings – including early September’s qualifying final – this year.
The Round 17 loss was the most damning. Square won that one by a demoralising 84-point margin.
Coach Brett Fitzpatrick and his players held a Leading Teams-style meeting on an August Monday night after that thumping when many home truths were placed on the table.
“We all opened up to each other and so we adjusted accordingly. Some guys wore honest assessments and they’ve all managed to turn it around.
“Many now better understand how rewarding the little things can be for the team.”
The Dragons didn’t give the Square a sniff all evening in the season’s penultimate match.
They led by 20 points at half-time and didn’t allow Square a single goal after the midway mark of the second quarter.
Sandhurst added 9.7 to four behinds in the second half as they crushed the meek Bulldogs.
Small forwards Seb Greene (3 goals) and Galen Munari (2) were mercurial, Lachie Ross nursed home three majors from his key post in attack while defender James Coghlan had the job on Square star Corey Jones when he played forward with Jones only managing a single goal for the night.
Admittedly the Dogs went into the prelim. final without injured skipper Luke Rosa, full-back Dale Young, rebounding defender Brayden Dorrington and midfielder Che Walls.
But coach Nick Carter refused to ascribe the heavy loss to their absences.
“We got smashed in the ability to compete and we had no urgency in sticking to the game plan. The bottom line is that the players we had on the park just didn’t do their jobs,” he said.
Final scores: Sandhurst 15.14 (104) Golden Square 3.7 (25).
AROUND the traps and St Arnaud and Navarre won grand finals in their leagues on a balmy September weekend.
St Arnaud downed Charlton by eight points in a cliffhanger North Central League grand final at Wedderburn.
They had led the Navy Blues by 26 points at three-quarter time before Charlton catapulted back into the contest in a 10-minute burst with five unanswered last quarter goals to hit the front by four points.
The Saints steadied as Nick Coghlan, who ended up winning the grand final’s Des Darcy medal, nailed his fifth goal at the 23-minute mark to guide St. Arnaud home.
Charlton rued their inaccuracy in the first term scoring just 1.6 when they had the advantage of the breeze.
It was the Navies third, straight NCFL grand final loss.
In the Maryborough-Castlemaine District League grand final played at Maryborough’s Princes Park Navarre won their third flag on the trot and maintained an unbeaten 41-game winning streak.
The Grasshoppers have now gone through the 2014 and 2015 seasons unbeaten.
Final scores: St. Arnaud 13.8 (86) Charlton 11.12 (78) and Navarre 17.14 (116) Carisbrook 8.7 (55).
IN SUNDAY’S Michelsen Medal count for the BFNL’s fairest and best player Eaglehawk’s Brodie Filo mowed down early leader Shaun Everington of Strathfieldsaye to finish with 17 votes – and the 2015 medal.
In doing so Filo joined his illustrious father Derrick who won in 1991 when he was Castlemaine captain.
It’s the first father-son medal double act in BFL history.
Midfielder/forward Brodie Filo only passed Everington when the Round 17 votes – the second last of the count – were called. Filo polled a two in the Hawks’ 186-point thumping of bottom side Maryborough to head Everington by one.
Sandhurst goal defender Heather Oliver was a runaway winner of the Betty Thompson netball medal finishing with 42 votes.
That placed Oliver, who also plays basketball with the Bendigo Spirit in the women’s national league, 16 clear of her nearest rival: Brianna Dalrymple-Monro of Strath Storm on 28.